Gender Equity Measured in Pronouns Per Page

Researchers chart the slow and unsteady rise of female representation in printed media by focusing on one part of speech: the humble pronoun.

Article written by guest writer Kecia Lynn

What’s the Latest Development?

Using Google Books, a team at San Diego State University examined over a million books published in the United States between 1900 and 2008 to determine how frequently female pronouns appeared compared to male pronouns. As expected, the ratio of male pronouns to female pronouns is lower now than it was in 1900. What surprised the researchers was that it didn’t drop steadily over the intervening 108 years. “Th[e] ratio increased…in the 1950s and early 1960s – the Father Knows Best era, when women stayed in the kitchen and, apparently, off the printed page.” It wasn’t until 1968 – when feminism was starting to take off – that the ratio began to drop significantly.

What’s the Big Idea?

The researchers note that the fall and rise of this ratio mirrors the status of American women over time, both in print media and in real life. As more women obtained college degrees and entered the labor force, more female pronouns appeared, and this reflection of gender awareness had implications for society as a whole. “The implicit notion that women’s lives are important and worth documenting no doubt conveys an important message to young readers of both genders.”

Photo Credit:

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

Why I wear my life on my skin

For Damien Echols, tattoos are part of his existential armor.

Top Video Splash
  • In prison Damien Echols was known by his number SK931, not his name, and had his hair sheared off. Stripped of his identity, the only thing he had left was his skin.
  • This is why he began tattooing things that are meaningful to him — to carry a "suit of armor" made up the images of the people and things that have significance to him, from his friends to talismans.
  • Echols believes that all places are imbued with divinity: "If you interact with New York City as if there's an intelligence behind... then it will behave towards you the same way.".

A world map of Virgin Mary apparitions

She met mere mortals with and without the Vatican's approval.

Strange Maps
  • For centuries, the Virgin Mary has appeared to the faithful, requesting devotion and promising comfort.
  • These maps show the geography of Marian apparitions – the handful approved by the Vatican, and many others.
  • Historically, Europe is where most apparitions have been reported, but the U.S. is pretty fertile ground too.
Keep reading Show less

Think you’re bad at math? You may suffer from ‘math trauma’

Even some teachers suffer from anxiety about math.

Image credit: Getty Images
Mind & Brain

I teach people how to teach math, and I've been working in this field for 30 years. Across those decades, I've met many people who suffer from varying degrees of math trauma – a form of debilitating mental shutdown when it comes to doing mathematics.

Keep reading Show less